Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Liverpool photo dairy

Last weekend I was very kindly invited by Travelodge to try out their hotel in the heart of Liverpool. Armed with my best friend, wine, glad rags and lots of gossip, we were up bright and early to catch the bus from London. Despite the journey taking a nightmare 10 and a half hours - we could have flown to NYC sob! - we didn't let this dampen our spirits.

We arrived at about 8.45pm so quickly ordered some pizza and poured some wine to get ready for a night on the tiles. Liverpool is a cracking night out! Once again I'm going to do a separate city guide with all my favourite haunts. It was a great weekend spent dancing, eating too much and basking in the sunshine. I really didn't expect to love the city as much as I did. The people were so friendly and there's so much to do. I even got swept up with Beatlemania despite not being too much of a fan!

It was so lovely to spend a few days away with a friend who I really don't see enough of. I can't believe we're celebrating 12 years of friendship this year - how did we get so old?!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dinner with Strada

Last week I was kindly invited out for a blogger dinner with the Italian restaurant Strada. We were treated like Queens! Alongside free-flowing prosecco and white wine, we were given canap├ęs and three courses in front of one of the city's most famous landmarks - London Bridge. It was such a wonderful evening and so lovely to get to know like-minded bloggers who are obsessed with food!

I have to be honest and admit that I tend to stay away from most chain restaurants as I think the food scene in London is of such a high quality, it seems a shame to go somewhere with mass produced food. But I will eat my hat! Strada has bucked the trend and is producing fresh, tasty food for its customers.

We were given plump green nocellara olives to start. Next up was a fresh caprese salad consisting of creamy buffalo mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil and a generous drizzle of olive oil. The perfect dish to help soak up the summer! Then I tried Burrata for the first time draped on top of proscuitto ham with crunchy toast - my favourite of the tasters. Creamy risotto and tender rare steak followed. Finally we were presented with a crispy veal covered in crunchy breadcrumbs. My belly was already feeling full and then we were told we would be treated to a three course meal of our choice. Wow!

For my starter I couldn't help but opt for the Spring Veggie Bruschetta on such a warm evening. Peas, spring onions and soya beans were mixed with creamy ricotta, mint and a squeeze of bitter lemon. It was the perfect portion size and the soft cheese went brilliantly with the crunchy slice of bread. For my main I chose the Cavatappi Genovese. El dente corkscrew pasta was smothered in basil nuts, topped with crunchy pine nuts alongside a scattering of soft new potatoes and fresh green beans. Delicious! I never wanted the bowl of pasta to run out! Finally for my dessert I wanted something light to counteract such a huge meal! The lemon sorbet was a no brainer. It was incredibly refreshing - just the ticket to end such a fantastic meal.

I joined the head chef of the restaurant to attempt to spin my own pizza base. He certainly made it look a lot easier than it was. Simply covered in a tart tomato sauce and nutty pesto, the pizza was divine. It tasted all the better knowing that I spun it myself. Not bad for my first attempt - but lets look over the fact it looks slightly oval!

I finally got the train home with a full belly, feeling a little merry and armed with an amazing personalised Strada apron. It was a lovely way to see out a Thursday - thanks for the invite guys! Big thanks to Angela and Felicia for catching me in action too!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Luxembourg City Guide

Bock Casemates
Way back in 963, a fort was built around Luxembourg. Within this was a 23km long network of casemates housed a community underneath. Soldiers, horses, bakeries, kitchens, workshops and slaughter houses were all buried underground. 17kg of the tunnels still remain this very day. It's an amazing, unique experience to walk around deep underground and imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago. Make sure you stop and peer out of the gaps for amazing views of the city. Be prepared for the tunnels to be very narrow and for lots of stairs to be climbed.

Philharmonie Luxembourg 
This stunning modern building hosts various musical events throughout the year - it's home to the incredible Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg. We luckily managed to catch them in a free open air concert so make sure you try and grab tickets to see them at the concert hall. They give you goosebumps!

Chocolate House
If you have a sweet tooth, you'll be in your element here. Word of warning, when you choose you cake, make sure you share - it's the size of your head! The delicious cafe is situated right outside the impressive Grand Ducel Palace. You can opt for lunch upstairs or sit outside and soak up the views. They have so many flavours of hot chocolate to choose from and lots of sweet treats to nibble on. It's a lovely place to rest your weary feet after a few hours exploring the city.

Hotel Le Chatelet
At only a 15 minute walk from the city centre, this family-run hotel is in the perfect location. It's far enough to be in a quiet area yet close enough should you want something a little more lively. Buffet breakfast is also included which is great to help get you started for the day. Pastries galore! The airport is only ten minutes away by car - perfect!

This restaurant is situated in a remodelled ex prison and church near the old town of the city. At lunch time they offer a lovely free jazz concert in the courtyard of the abbey. Afterwards there's a buffet on offer where you can eat until your hearts content! I obviously treated myself to a fair few plates. It's a lovely place to just sit back, relax and enjoy some superb music. It gets extremely busy so get there early before the music starts at 11am.

If you're planning a trip, make sure you visit for some great tips!